by Greg Wilson
Of the 195 new cars and trucks available in the Canadian marketplace for the 2000 model year, a total of twenty-one are all-new and twenty-six have been significantly redesigned. This year, most of the new models are cars, with a few new sport utility vehicles, pickups and one new mini-van
thrown-in to round out the ‘What’s New’ list.
Some models have been discontinued: Ford and Chrysler have eliminated similar vehicles with different badges: for example the Plymouth Caravan has been discontinued leaving the Dodge Caravan, and the Mercury Sable has disappeared leaving the new, redesigned Ford Taurus.
Here’s a rundown of what’s new or significantly different for cars in the 2000 model year. Where available, 2000 prices have been included. Next week: SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks.
2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser
Tall roofs and roomy interiors are in vogue for 2000. Chrysler’s retro-styled PT Cruiser is a new five-passenger, four cylinder hatchback based on the current Neon platform. Its tall roof and versatile, easily-accessible cargo area provide a surprisingly roomy interior for such a small vehicle. Ford’s compact, European-designed Focus replaces the Escort and Contour, and comes as a hatchback, sedan or station wagon. It also features a tall roof, elevated seating positions, roomy cargo area, and surprisingly good handling. Prices range from $14,895 to $19,695. Toyota’s new Echo replaces the subcompact Tercel, but has considerably more interior and trunk space. The Echo, available as a two-door or four-door sedan, has a tall roof, high seating positions, and a unique instrument cluster in the middle of the dashtop. Weighing less than 1000 kg and with a 108 horsepower 1.5 litre four cylinder engine, the Echo is surprisingly peppy. Echo prices range from $13,835 to $15,175. Even Chrysler’s redesigned 2000 Neon makes some gains in interior room with a longer cabin, a taller roof, and raised seats. It’s priced between $17,995 and $19,905.
An all-new Hyundai Accent also makes its debut this year. Eleven cm longer with a roomier interior and a little more horsepower, the new Accent remains one of Canada’s least expensive and economical small cars. A newcomer last year, the South Korean-built compact Daewoo Nubira has also been redesigned with new exterior and interior styling. An all-new Nissan Sentra subcompact economy car will arrive in the Spring of 2000, but few details are available. Word is that it will be bigger, more fuel-efficient, and more environmentally-friendly than the previous model.
A few compact and mid-sized import sedans have also been redesigned for 2000. The Subaru Legacy and Outback sedans are bigger and more refined than their predecessors, and continue to offer standard all-wheel-drive and a 165 horsepower flat-four cylinder engine. Prices are between $23,595 and $36,295. Nissan’s V6-powered Maxima is all-new for 2000, with a larger body and more interior and trunk space, improved handling, and the most horsepower (222) in its class. Maxima’s range from $28,590 to $34,900. The four cylinder Nissan Altima sedan has also been given a face-lift, and
refined to make it quieter and more comfortable. It’s priced from $19,998 to $28,598. Toyota’s biggest car, the Avalon, is now larger and more luxurious than the previous Avalon with the emphasis on interior room and comfort. It ranges in price from $36,595 to $43,800.
There are also significant changes amongst mid-sized domestic family cars: the Ford Taurus has new, more conservative styling, a roomier interior and a bigger trunk. Taurus prices range from $24,495 to $27,695 . An all-new mid-sized Saturn sedan and wagon, the L-Series, features Saturn’s plastic
body panels and a standard 2.2 litre four cylinder engine or optional 3.0 litre V6. Saturn L-Series models range from $19,255 to $27,810. The Chevrolet Impala, which replaces the Lumina, has a significantly bigger six-passenger interior, a larger trunk, more horsepower and a better ride. Impala prices range from $24,495 to $28,995. General Motors has also redesigned the full-size, front-wheel-drive Pontiac Bonneville, which has a longer wheelbase, wider track, more standard features, and a new optional anti-skid system. Bonneville’s range from $30,740 to $41,995. The popular Buick LeSabre has also undergone design changes to make it more comfortable, roomier and more powerful. LeSabres are priced between $30,465 to $35,725. The two-door Monte Carlo, based on the Impala, is also new for 2000, with more horsepower, more interior room, and an improved ride. It’s priced from $25,895 to $28,595.
The number of sporty cars and sports cars is on the upswing: all-new is the Honda S2000, a two-seater sports car with a traditional front engine/rear-wheel-drive setup and a high-revving 250 horsepower 2.0 litre four cylinder engine. It’s priced at $48,000. The new Audi TT 2+2 hatchback, based on the Golf platform, comes with all-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 1.8 litre engine, and is priced at $49,500. From Toyota, comes a radically-redesigned Celica: Celica GT’s have a 140 horsepower 1.8 litre four cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission while Celica GTS
models have a 180 horsepower engine and a 6-speed manual transmission or a semi-automatic ‘E-shift’ four-speed transmission. Celicas range in price from $23,980 to $32,545, much less than their predecessors. Hyundai’s restyled Tiburon hatchback is still one of the best values in the sporty
coupe market at $18,995 to $23,095.
At the top end of the market, BMW will introduce the Z8 sports car, co-star of the new James Bond movie, later this year. It features a 400 horsepower V8 engine, six-speed manual transmission, aluminum body, and 18 inch tires and alloy wheels – the price is expected to be well over $150,000. And for those who want the ultimate in performance, the new mid-engined, aluminum-bodied Ferrari 360 Modena replaces the F355. Its 395 horsepower 3.6 litre V8 engine propels it from 0 to 60 in just 4.3 seconds. Its estimated price is close to $200,000.
In addition to the standard Porsche Boxster, Porsche is now offering a new Boxster S model with over 250 horsepower and a revised suspension. It starts at $71,110. Jaguar has unveiled the new XKR sports car, an XK8 with the supercharged 370 horsepower V8 motor borrowed from the XJR sport sedan. The XKR will be priced well over $100,000.
Significant new luxury cars now include the redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class which is loaded with new technology including ‘Smart Cruise Control’, a GPS Navigation system, adjustable air springs, and a 5-speed automatic transmission with manually-selectable gears. The new S430 and S500 range
from $92,500 to $112,850. Further down the luxury scale, the new Jaguar S-Type draws on Jaguar’s styling heritage combined with modern luxury and technological features, such as a voice-activated stereo and heater controls. V6 S-Types go for $59,950 while V8 S-Types are $69,950. Lincoln’s
new LS sedan, which is based on a similar platform to the S-Type, offers North American luxury with European handling at a more affordable price, ranging from $40,595 to $48,595. Audi’s new S4 sport sedan is based on the A4 sedan, but has a more powerful turbocharged 250 horsepower 2.7 litre V6
engine, 17 inch tires and a stiffer suspension. It’s priced at $56,000. In addition, Audi has expanded the A6 sedan lineup by adding two new engines and more features to the new A6 2.7T and A6 4.2. They’re priced at $57,000 and $70,000 respectively.
Volvo will enter the entry-level luxury car market in August of 2000 with the new S40 sedan and V40 Wagon, both of which have a standard 160 horsepower 1.9 litre four cylinder engine and extensive safety features that Volvo is well-known for. Prices have not yet been established. Infiniti’s
redesigned I30 sedan is based on the new Nissan Maxima, but offers more luxury and refinement for a price between $39,700 and $41,500. After introducing an all-new 3-Series sedan last year, BMW has introduced the new 323Ci and 328Ci Coupes, both using similar powertrains, but with sportier, more streamlined styling. 323Ci’s start at $38,900 and 328Ci’s start at $46,900. And speaking of coupes, Acura will introduce an all-new CL Coupe this Winter with an as yet undisclosed price.